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Business Practices

24 Ways to Impress Your (Web Geek) Friends

Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 18, 2014

24 Ways category iconsCelebrating it’s 10th anniversary, 24 ways, the advent calendar for web geeks, is back in fine form. 24 ways was started in December of 2005 by web developer Drew McLellan. McLellan published the blog throughout the month with daily articles on web code, productivity, client management, business – anything and everything a web developer might need. As McLellan writes, “There’s a lot of fun to be had in learning something that will impress those you work with – especially if then you can share what you know to everyone’s benefit.”

This year’s offering continues to delight, with articles from a wide range of experts weighing in on everything from SEO to graphics creation to carpal tunnel syndrome. Articles can be searched and sorted by major topics: business, code, content, design, process, and UX. Articles going back to the very first edition of 24 ways continue to be published, providing a rich resource for developers.

The clean, pared-down website was designed by Paul Robert Lloyd and built on the Perch Runway platform. (24 ways has included a complete colophon which credits everyone involved in the creation of the website.) For updates on each publication, readers can subscribe to 24 ways’ newsletter or RSS feed, or follow them on Twitter.

24 Ways screen shot

Tax Court Ruling Supports Working and Teaching Artists

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 17, 2014

IRS logoThe New York Times reported in early October on a tax decision that could have wide-reaching affects. For years, fine artist Susan Crile has earned an income from both her artwork and her teaching job as a professor at Hunter College in New York City. In filing her taxes, she has written off expenses related to her artwork for several decades. In 2010, the IRS accused Crile of underpaying her taxes from 2004 to 2009, stating that her claim that she was both an artist and a teaching professional was artificial, and that she created art solely to support her position as a tenured professor. (Crile has been a working artist since 1971, and became a tenured professor in 1994.) Judge Albert at the tax court rejected the IRS’s claim, stating the Crile established proof of her professional status as an artist.

The full New York Times article and Judge Albert’s ruling can be read online.

This Is the Story about “These Are the Things”

Posted by Rebecca Blake on August 14, 2014

Jen Adrion and Omar Noory of the design and illustration studio, These are the Things, are the paradigm of successful creative entrepreneurs. Young and attractive, their resumes are the stuff of designer envy: creators of cool maps featured on the tony shopping site Fab, illustrators with a steady gig with Afar magazine, purveyors of beautiful cards and posters, and subjects of a case study in a best selling book on successful start-ups. Yet at last autumn’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, Adrion and Noory dispelled any myth of an easy ride. In a talk memorable for its honesty, they described the daunting setbacks they’ve faced.

The lecture, titled ”How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Enjoy The Ride,” is illustrated with a graph showing Adrion and Noory’s meteoric rise, a suitable device for two infographic designers. Rather than showing a steady, straight angle towards success, the upward trend is punctuated with deep dips representing financial loss, anxiety, and thwarted plans. The two provide a frank recounting of their setbacks, from unmet expectations, to naïve mistakes and oversights in financial planning, to circumstances beyond their control.

Despite the grim topic of lessons learned, the lecture is hardly a downer. Both Adrion and Noory are brimming with energy and self deprecating humor, and many of their setbacks were the result of inexperience, hardly unsurprising for two 20-somethings starting their first company. What stands out is their ability to assess a bad situation, and do whatever is necessary to continue in the business they love. The lecture is a gift to the creative community, made all the more generous by Adrion and Noory’s openness.

A full transcript of their talk is provided on their website.

Portrait of Adrion and Noory, used with permission.

Jen Aldrion and Omar Noory

Dorm Room Tycoon: Information & Inspiration

Posted by Rebecca Blake on August 07, 2014

Dorm Room Tycoon sounds like a startup founded by a 20-something cobbling together the next big Internet sensation. In fact, it’s a collection of podcasts with innovators in design, technology, and business. A wide range of design disciplines is covered, featuring the likes of Jeffrey Zeldman (webdesign and coding), Erik Spiekermann (typography), Swiss Miss (communication design), and Jason Saint Maria (interactive design). The interviews are a relaxed exchange, as DRT founder William Channer and the interviewee seem to wander from topic to topic. Listening to the podcasts is rather like overhearing two very bright people having a comfortable conversation.

Channer started DRT in 2011. As a creative and mobile product designer based in London, he was frustrated by the dearth of solid advice on building a startup business. Reading profiles of entrepreneurs in technology publications exacerbated his frustration, since most articles focused on irrelevant life stories, or perpetuated origin myths. Channer decided to conduct his own interviews that would focus on questions about process, drawing out practical advice and life experience. He chose the name, “Dorm Room Tycoon,” to reflect the idea of starting small and doing something big.  

Channer has applied what he’s learned from the DRT interviewees. Just this year, he launched Panda, a web app and Chrome extension, which provides a steady stream of news and inspiration. The web app provides a split screen with news feed of article links on technology, design, and job listings on the left, and thumbnails streamed from portfolio sites Behance, Dribbble, and Awwwards on the right. The news feed streams from technology and design aggregators, such as Hacker News, sidebar.io, and Layervault Designer News. Users can add the Chrome extension to their browser window, book mark the web app,  and subscribe to Panda’s  weekly newsletter.

Below: The speakers featured in Dorm Room Tycoon are tagged by color codes: red for business, green for technology, and gold for design.
Image © Doorm Room Tycoon. Used with permission.

Go North: Guild Member Discount for DesignThinkers 2014

Posted by Rebecca Blake on July 16, 2014

November 6-7
Toronto, Canada

Join the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) and over 1,500 visual communicators for the 15th annual DesignThinkers Conference, a celebration of creativity and strategic design thinking.

The event welcomes a star-studded line-up of 25 international speakers, including:
-    Charles Adler, Co-founder, Kickstarter
-    Irma Boom, Netherlands-based Book Designer
-    Henry Hobson, Film Titles Designer, “The Walking Dead”
-    Wesley Grubbs, Founder, Data Visualization Studio Pitch Interactive
-    Aaron Draplin, Founder, Draplin Design Co.
-    Sybille Hagmann, Type Designer
-    Ellen Lupton, Author, Educator & Curator
-    Karen McGrane, Author, “Content Strategy for Mobile”
-    Debbie Millman, Author & Host, Design Matters
-    Paula Scher, Partner, Pentagram
-    Erik Spiekermann, Author & Creative Director, Edenspiekermann
-    Richard Turley, Creative Director, Bloomberg Businessweek
-    Jessica Walsh, Partner, Sagmeister & Walsh
-    Todd Waterbury, Executive Creative Director & Sr. VP, Marketing, Target

Members of the Graphic Artists Guild get special pricing! Register on the Group/Org rate. Early Bird rates end September 26. Learn more at www.designthinkers.com.

DesignThinkers © RGD

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Looking to keep up with industry trends and techniques?

Taking your creative career to the next level means you need to be up on a myriad of topics. And as good as your art school education may have been, chances are there are gaps in your education. The Guild’s professional monthly webinar series, Webinar Wednesdays, can help take you to the next level.

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